Friday, May 24, 2013

a new blog name (and a loaf of bread)

So...I renamed by blog. Obviously. I have no real reason for doing this, other than I felt like it was time. Also because when I originally named it Bee's Nest, I was feeling rather lazy and just went with my familial nickname. The URL I desired wasn't even available, so it was all rather ramshackle and not exactly what I wanted.

It's funny when you name something...I think we try to come up with something overly clever or witty or poetic. Or maybe that's just what I do. I had about 40 other combinations of words other than the above and trust me, they were all rather pretentious. So I asked myself, "Brit, what are a few of your favorite things?" And immediately my brain screamed FLOWERS AND COFFEE CUPS!!!!!!!! I collect both with an obsession bordering on mental illness.

And so that's what I went with. I'm sticking with it.

Also, I made bread and wanted to share my very favorite recipe. I love bread. Who doesn't? I love trying new bread recipes all the time, but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be this one.

My Favorite Loaf adapted from The River Cottage Family Cookbook

King Arthur bread flour, 4 cups plus more for dusting (I need to say this: please do not deviate from the King Arthur flour. I'm convinced it's what makes this bread so wonderful.)

2 tsp. kosher salt

3 tbsp. ground flax seed

1 packet dried instant yeast

2 tbsp. olive oil, plus a little for greasing

2 tsp. sugar

1 1/4 cups warm water

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, flax, and yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Put the olive oil and sugar in a measuring cup, then fill to just over the 1 1/4 mark with warm--not hot!--water. Stir very well, then add a little at a time to the flour mixture, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon until combined. At this point you'll have a very shaggy mess. Tip this out onto a floured cutting board. Wash and dry your bowl and set it aside.

Begin to knead your dough. If it feels too sticky, sprinkle some flour over it and work it in. If it feels too dry, use a sprinkle of water. You're going to knead for 10-15 minutes--just keep going until carpel tunnel sets in. The dough will turn into a soft and bouncy mass. Form the dough into a ball.

Drizzle some olive oil into your clean bowl, then place your dough in the bottom. Flip it over once, then cover with a damp tea towel. Place in a warm location, but not too warm or you'll kill the yeast. Let the dough rise for about 2 hours, by which time it should be gloriously puffy.

Punch the dough out, then turn it out of the bowl, and knead again for just a minute. Roll the dough into a log or sausage shape, then place into an oiled loaf pan. Tuck the ends slightly underneath the rest of the dough. Cover and let rise again for half an hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400F.

Place the loaf in the oven on the middle rack and set the timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the oven temperature down to 375F. Cook for another 10 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, turn out your loaf of bread, then place the whole thing back in the oven, upside-down so that the bottom can brown. This will take 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it. When the loaf is a lovely golden shade, and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with your knuckles, it's done.

Leave your bread to cool for at least an hour, which will allow it to form a crust. It's a hard wait, I know. Then slice and enjoy with butter and honey, strawberry jam, or like I did, with a beautiful salad.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

mother's day brunch.

Had my mother over for a mother's day brunch. We ate gluten-free pancakes with yogurt, granola, maple syrup, and strawberry jam. We drank vanilla rooibos tea. She enjoyed herself immensely, which is exactly what I was aiming for.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

mother's day.

Happy Mother's Day to every kind of mother I know. I hope your day is full of beauty and rest.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I wanted to give you all a short update on my health. A lot has happened over the past few weeks, and I haven't shared any of it; I've been focusing on living in those in-between moments instead, the ones that have nothing to do with my body and how it feels. So to make a very long story short: Found a wonderful doctor, one who has experienced the exact type of problem that I've had for so long (bonus!), had 15 steroid shots put into the muscles around my shoulders and neck, and now I'll be going back tomorrow for another injection in my spine, one that will help with the slight bulge I have in one disc and the arthritis (I'm actually 80) that I have in several. I'm not all that apprehensive over the actual procedure...I'm more concerned with how I'll feel afterward. The last round wasn't a picnic; I was extremely nauseated and achy for several days.

I've reached that point where I'm willing to try anything, just to see. And if it causes suffering, be it. Suffering is something I'm well acquainted with. It passes. I'm not a hard-ass by any means, but I've learned that much about pain, that it will eventually move on, or morph into something else.

The thing is--and I'm trying and failing to not get ahead of myself here--is that this could be the thing. The thing that finally helps enough to get me back to the person I remember being.

Maybe I could dance again one day. I almost can't fathom it. It's too much.

Calm, calm, calm. I know. I have stocked up on oatmeal and broth and bananas and prayers. I'm waiting.


Saturday, May 4, 2013